How it Happened
SMU withstood a second half run from Connecticut to hold on for their 11th straight win 69-61 at the XL Center Saturday afternoon. After a week off, SMU came out with plenty of energy and jumped all over the Huskies with a 13-0 run putting the Huskies on their heels down 14-4 early. Despite playing much of the first half without Semi Ojeleye and Sterling Brown, the Mustangs were able to keep UConn at bay thanks to 18 first half points from Shake Milton and led at the break 41-30. Along with foul trouble, a big reason Connecticut was able to stay in the game was SMU's inability to keep them off the offensive glass. The Huskies had 10 offensive rebounds that lead to 13 second chance points in the first twenty minutes of play. SMU did a better job of this in the second half, holding the Huskies to just two offensive rebounds in the final 20 minutes. Despite losing Jalen Adams right before halftime, the Huskies came back in the second half half with a couple jumpers from Christian Vital, who had 14 points on the afternoon, and Kentan Facey who gave SMU problems once again with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Despite cutting SMU's lead down to 5, the Mustangs were able to withstand that run and push the lead back up to double digits late. With Shake Milton going quiet in the second half, the Mustangs turned to Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye who combined for 16 second half points.
What it Means
It was a tale of two halves for SMU, but they were able to withstand Connecticut's late run to hold on for another road conference victory. For the second straight game, SMU was able to withstand some early foul trouble, something that could benefit them heading into the next couple of weeks.
Player of the Game- Ben Moore
With Shake Milton, Semi Ojeleye and Sterling Brown all battling foul trouble at some point in the game, Ben Moore stepped forward to lead SMU with 15 points and 9 rebounds. It was a typical game for Moore who contributed in a variety of ways aside from scoring including chipping in 1 steal and 2 blocked shots.
With Ben Moore, Sterling Brown and Semi Ojeleye all picking up two fouls in the first half, SMU turned to Dashawn McDowell and Leo Kontopoulos. Moore checked back in soon after and finished the half with two fouls.
SMU heads home to play Tulsa Thursday night at 7 pm CT.